Winning the Center for Digital Government’s Best of California’s Award for “Most Innovative Use of Technology”

Article Posted by P.K. Agarwal, Director, Office of Technology Services (OTech)

Today, we celebrate winning the Center for Digital Government’s Best of California’s award for “Most Innovative Use of Technology” for our iPhone application CA.gov Services Locator. This is a win for us, as well as California citizens who are on-the-go.

The CA.gov Locator app is a one-stop mobile directory that provides location and contact details for California government service centers and offices. Using location-aware GPS technology, the application pinpoints the user’s current location and presents the nearest government offices. Users can click-to-call agency telephone numbers, get directions on a map, or send an email. Users can also search by zip code even when network connectivity is not available.

The free application provides access to a variety of different offices that provide in-person assistance such as Employment Development Department One-Stop Career Centers, Disability Insurance Offices, Tax Offices, Department of Motor Vehicles Field Offices, Voter Information, Public Libraries, State Parks and Recreation areas, Victim Witness Assistance Centers, Small Business Development Centers, Roadside Rest Areas and Food and Agriculture District Offices.

The growing demand for on-the-go Web services prompted the State to create an iPhone application to help California citizens get access to government information. Locating government offices is one of most popular tasks on CA.gov, so our goal was to customize and optimize user experience through a mobile application. So far, more than 700 people have downloaded the app, and it has received 4+ stars in the iTunes Store.

The application leverages the iPhone’s GPS technology, and tailors content according to the user’s whereabouts. Users can click-to-call agency telephone numbers, get directions on a map, or send an email. Users can also search by zip code even when network connectivity is not available.

iPhone use is growing rapidly. In 2008, there were more than 14,000 visits to the State website (www.ca.gov) using an iPhone. Already, this year we have seen 28,300 visits using an iPhone. Additionally, more than 5,300 visits have been from iPods.

The new iPhone app was developed through a partnership effort with the State of California and Symsoft Solutions.